Acknowledgement Paradox

In the short story Escape from Spiderhead by George Saunders, the illusion of choice within the piece, is present in Jeff’s use of the word, “Acknowledge.” Jeff and the other test subjects are required to address the drugs to being administered to them before Abnesti and Verlaine are allowed to do so. However, it is not exactly as if they have any choice in the first place. We see the outcome of this when Jeff refuses to let Abnesti administer Darkenfloxx, the most pain inducing drug, into Rachel. Abnesti immediately wants to give Jeff adore of Docilryde, a drug to make him follow all his orders, to make him acknowledge the administering of Darkenfloxx into Rachel. When Verlaine states “‘There’s Docilryde in every MobiPack,”‘(75) It connotes that even though a waiver would need to be signed, Jeff can be very easily manipulated with that drug. Thus the illusion of decision is made present if the scientists went without signing a waiver. They would very easily have the ability to use the Docilryde to make him approve of its usage in the first place. That being said, with no cooperation from Jeff needed to, “Acknowledge,” then there is no choice to begin with. Both Abnesti, Verlaine, and the rest of those operating within Spiderhead, have total control over their subjects. Concluding that Jeff’s words and wishes are meaningless, and he is merely a puppet to their science.

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